The carmaker wants the Chinese company's autonomous tech.
In the last decade or so, the automotive landscape has changed dramatically. Gas-powered engines are living on borrowed time, with manufacturers focusing on EVs as regulations signal the end of the ICE era. Another advancement slated for the future is fully autonomous vehicles. Tesla could be considered a trailblazer in the field, with vehicles currently running around the US with the brand's Full Self-Driving suite - but not without fault, though.
In order to stay relevant in the coming years, automakers have to make sure they stay ahead of the game in the aforementioned areas. To that end, Volkswagen is reportedly in discussion with Chinese tech company Huawei, about purchasing an autonomous driving unit in a potential multi-billion dollar deal, reports Manager Magazin.
Currently, the German brand offers just one electric vehicle stateside, the ID.4 SUV. But Volkswagen is going for gold. In 2026, the brand hopes to reveal Project Trinity, a flagship EV offering Level 2 autonomous capability and Level 4, once legislators approve the tech. This may explain the brand's interest in Huawei.
Figures from the respective companies are overseeing the purported deal, which also includes tech the Wolfsburg-based carmaker is not entirely familiar with. At this stage, Volkswagen has declined to comment on the deal. VW CEO Herbert Diess is anticipating an uptick in autonomous driving within the next two decades and has said the carmaker was looking to forge new partnerships to increase its competence and self-reliance in the field.
Over at sister company Audi, company execs remain cautiously optimistic about a fully autonomous future. Head of General Counsel Legal Services, Uta Klawitter, said that while regulation surrounding Level 4 autonomous driving should be expected in 2024 (in Europe, at least), there's still a lot of work to be done surrounding legislation and rules relating to the technology.
The technology needs to operate smoothly but also be safe to use. "Only then - and this is the second challenge - will it gain social acceptance and the corresponding trust." But there's a third challenge that needs solving. Previously, Volkswagen has teased several ideas of autonomous vehicles based on the ID. Buzz, an all-electric people carrier that will debut on March 9.
The brand's clever idea? A self-driving ambulance. There are numerous benefits to this, including the potential to save more lives through superior medical care. Until then, there's still plenty of work to be done to perfect the technology, something the AAA recently discovered.